A new company, Advercan.com, has been formed in the US to tackle the problem of drinks can hygiene, while simultaneously providing another means of can advertising.
Developed by Americans Cali St. John and Kenneth McClintock, the idea began with a flexible, clear can covering which not only ensured the prevention of dirt or bacteria contamination in between the often convoluted route from factory to consumer, but also provided further promotional messaging potential.
The resulting product is the Advercan, a flexible soft top that is claimed to both protect the drinking surface of beverage cans and supply an almost endless number of promotional opportunities for the beverage industry and other consumer products.
Beyond the basic cleanliness and promotional values, one of the most important considerations that drove the pair to bring their idea to reality was the vast potential for the product. According to data from Beverage Industry magazine cited by the company, more than 260 billion canned drinks were consumed around the world in 2001. Market size, coupled with constant news reminders of the importance of cleaning the tops of beverage cans before consuming drinks, and a projected 2001 national expenditure of $45 billion (€43.9bn) on direct promotional mail, created a dual sense of urgency and marketplace opportunity for the company's founders.
Now, after three years of research and development, equipment has been developed that is capable of producing and placing an Advercan cap and its customised promotional or collectable messages on the tops of five million cans per month.
"Consumer marketers are demanding more and more information about the promotional tools that bring in their customers," said McClintock. " Advercan.com provides an effective means of connecting a sale with the can-top protector. Of greater interest may be the ability to set a pricing model for Advercan that shares a reward from the promotional partner with the beverage company that canned the drink, effectively reducing the beverage company's production costs. Consumers get drinks that are more sanitary and reap promotional values, beverage producers reduce their expenses and consumer goods sellers get a new means of reaching potential customers - it's a rare win-win-win situation."
According to a company press release, McClintock has been involved in environmental and humanitarian issues for more than ten years, and has helped develop the product and underlying business with an eye toward these interests. In addition to further contributing to important causes from the proceeds of the company, Advercan.com says that its product has been designed with a similar concern for people and the environment.
Many of the covers - particularly those on products consumed by children and young adults - will be designed as collectables, which the company claims should help limit improper discarding of the new top labels. Additionally, it says that use of Advercan as a couponing tool or device redeemable for merchandise further assures proper disposal of the cover. The environmental impact of those that are disposed of is significantly reduced, as each will be manufactured of FDA- and EPA-approved biodegradable polymers.
According to the company, there is almost no limit to the number of enhancements that can be built into the system. Second-generation Advercan caps will be able to add scent, taste, a three-dimensional image, bar-coding, decoding and even a miniature sound chip.
Company officials have been in contact with many major beverage industry members and consumer marketing groups, and expect to have the first Advercan covers adorning US beverage cans during the first quarter of 2003.
Based in Dallas, Advercan.com is the first contractor of the Advercan system for protecting the cleanliness of canned beverages through the use of a specially applied, easy-to-remove promotional cover that is 100 per cent biodegradable. Currently the product is protected by more than a half dozen US and foreign patents pending.